I am ‘pro-life’ but it shouldn’t be this easy to limit abortion

My name is Stephen and I believe life begins at conception. There, I said it. Now you know: I’m one of Those People. Measure me up for the village stocks. I won’t be adding a coat hanger Twibbon to my social media profile, as others have in response to a motion on abortion from NationalistContinue reading “I am ‘pro-life’ but it shouldn’t be this easy to limit abortion”

SNP’s biggest conference ever poses three big questions

Three questions emerge from SNP conference 2015. Question one: What is the SNP today? Answer: Who knows. The angry and aggrieved are still there; muttering the old prejudices, their faces etched with resentment. A BBC fringe meeting turned ugly, as the Nats’ raw paranoia about the broadcaster spilled out. Elsewhere, Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, a walking pressContinue reading “SNP’s biggest conference ever poses three big questions”

Nicola Sturgeon is not for turning on second referendum

To watch Nicola Sturgeon address the SNP’s annual conference is to observe a leader at the height of her political prowess. They leap to their feet for her, drown even the weakest lines in rapturous applause. They are hers, like teenagers in a dreamy crush. She would never, ever break their hearts. Alone among leadersContinue reading “Nicola Sturgeon is not for turning on second referendum”

Scottish Greens vote to remove Hamas from terrorist list

The Scottish Greens, perhaps feeling Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was lonely out on his limb, have echoed his support for Hamas. The left-wing party passed a motion at its autumn conference in Glasgow on Saturday backing the removal of the Islamist militants from the list of proscribed terrorist groups. The motion, which runs to moreContinue reading “Scottish Greens vote to remove Hamas from terrorist list”

Social justice trumps independence in Patrick Harvie speech

The Scottish Greens are in buoyant mood. The party heads into the long campaign for the 2016 Holyrood elections with more than 7000 extra members than this time last year. For those energised by the referendum but unmoved by the SNP’s pro-business centrism, the Greens have become the go-to party of radicalism and economic alternatives.Continue reading “Social justice trumps independence in Patrick Harvie speech”

Why is Ruth Davidson not vying to be the next Tory leader?

Conference season is The X Factor for aspiring party leaders. Wannabes treat their annual speech to the grassroots as a live audition for the big gig. Whether their current leader’s coat is on a shoogly peg or, like David Cameron, he still has a few more years left in him, the backing dancers all dreamContinue reading “Why is Ruth Davidson not vying to be the next Tory leader?”

SNP’s intolerance could blow up in its face

“I live in a rather special world,” mused Pauline Kael. “I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken.” It was 1972, a month after his re-election in a landslide, and the film critic voiced the liberal intelligentsia’s bewilderment. How could a country so obviouslyContinue reading “SNP’s intolerance could blow up in its face”

Corbyn Labour dwarfed in the shadow of Denis Healey

Denis Healey was a giant and lived in an age of giants. His name shares breath with the icons of postwar Labour: Wilson and Callaghan, Gaitskill and Castle, Crosland and Benn. One need not be a misty-eyed nostalgist to lament the absence of such big beasts from today’s parliamentary party. Healey had hinterland. He foughtContinue reading “Corbyn Labour dwarfed in the shadow of Denis Healey”

John MacKay and a generation of change in Scotland

‘Where does John MacKay sit?’ The seating arrangements of the STV newsroom are a source of curiosity for some, and often the first question posed when it is discovered that you work for the broadcaster. There is an assumption that the presenter is enthroned in an opulent office on the top floor, deigning only toContinue reading “John MacKay and a generation of change in Scotland”

The most scandalous book you will read about Better Together

Project Fear: How an Unlikely Alliance Left a Kingdom United but a Country Divided By Joe Pike Biteback, pp. 320 Joe Pike is the last person you’d expect to write a scandalous account of the campaign against independence. Polemicists like Kevin McKenna or Brian Wilson, perhaps. David Torrance, maybe; he has a new book to go withContinue reading “The most scandalous book you will read about Better Together”